For son of Cincinnati Chancey Wilson, fighting isn't just a way to acquire fame and fortune -- it's the credo that supports his love of life and family.
Chancey Wilson is a walking dichotomy. The 26-year old fighter -- currently making his home in Cincinnati, Ohio -- playfully calls the tattoo scorched across the top of his chest plate "stupid." He got the tattoo when he was just 18, on a whim. It reads: "Fight or Die."
With such a bold statement emblazoned on his person, you'd think the Scientific Street Fighting trained martial artist would lug around a knapsack filled with anger, intensity. When you meet the cordial young man, though, it's quite the opposite. His smile is wide; his passion for the sport infectious. Energy abounds in the youthful prospect, and he speaks on the nature of fighting the way a child would describe their favorite teddy bear.
And, this is on fight week, mind you.
Wilson gushes about fight philosophy during a time when most fighters are enduring the difficult process of stripping their bodies bare in order to hit the scales. Nerves are usually on high alert. Without having to cut weight this week, Chancey seems relaxed, excited even. It's hard to tell whether his effervescent disposition is married to his bout this Saturday night, or, if it's just his inherent character. Either way, Wilson is certainly well aware of his task.
"I'm coming from Cincinnati to bounce Santos' head," he said during a conversation on the way back from the Philadelphia International Airport.
On Saturday night, Chancey will have to ignore the cheers from the Santo supporters: Curatolo hails from Staten Island, and will likely have a throng of fans and family in attendance. This doesn't seem to bother Chancey.
Separated from his mother at the age of two, and raised by his father until the patriarch was imprisoned, Wilson has lived a life where his mantra embodied more than just a spread of ink. "Fight or Die" is his doctrine, one that reminds the father of three that the Borgata's bright lights fail to shine its beams upon that which is most important: family.
A self-professed homebody, Wilson is just as at-ease at home with his younglings as he is when surrounded by a metal cage. The latter part of his tattoo, the part that confronts death, isn't just speaking to a physical demise; it speaks to the notion that one must scrap to truly live.
At CFFC 66, Chancey Wilson -- the young man punching through past familial difficulties -- will have the opportunity to immortalize the text he carries on his chest. He'll have a chance to prove that he belongs within the ranks of CFFC, but even more than that, he's being granted a shot at terraforming his past into the engine that drives him to glory.
Perhaps he's fighting for his parents. Maybe he's fighting for his children. When the cage door slams on Saturday, all that matters to Chancey is that death is not an option.